extent, both with soldiers and with their friends at home, that unexchanged prisoners are not liable to the authority of the Government as soldiers. In a word, that one of the consequences of a parole is to suspend for the time being the military responsibility which existed previous to capture.
I am of opinion that should an order from an authoritative source on this subject be published it would have a good effect in bringing many absentees into camp. The announcement that they were exchanged would doubtless bring many back to their duty.
I have not yet made a report of the command here. Before entering upon the duties assigned to me I learned that Major-General Stevenson had sent such officers of the Alabama regiments of his division as had reported upon expiration of their furloughs to the sections of country where their regiments and companies had been raised, with directions to get their men together and bring them here. The places of rendezvous for these troops not having been made known to me, I can communicate only by the newspapers.
I have given similar instructions to officers of other Alabama regiments. After the 15th I hope to report some success from these steps.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. M. GARDNER,
WAR DEPARTMENT, September 21, 1863.
SECRETARY OF WAR:
The impression is very general among the soldiers of this army that they cannot be called into the service, and the counsel of General Gardner is worthy of consideration. See letter within.
J. A. CAMPBELL,
WAR DEPARTMENT, September 22, 1863.
Have not these men been exchanged? If not, I think it would be well to issue such an order as General Gardner suggests.
J. A. SEDDON,
SEPTEMBER 24, 1863.
It is the impression that the men referred to have been exchanged. Will Colonel Ould state certainly if such is the fact and return these papers?
C. H. LEE,
General Gardner has been fully informed as to who has and who has not been exchanged.